BACKGROUND: Contemporary goals of rehabilitation after traumatic brain injury (TBI) aim to improve cognitive and motor function by applying concepts of neuroplasticity. This can be challenging to carry out in TBI patients with motor, balance, and cognitive impairments.

OBJECTIVE: To determine whether use of dynamic body-weight support (DBWS) would allow safe administration of intensive motor therapy during inpatient rehabilitation and whether its use would yield greater improvement in functional recovery than standard-of-care (SOC) therapy in adults with TBI.

METHODS: Data in this retrospective cohort study was collected from patients with TBI who receive inpatient rehabilitation incorporating DBWS (n = 6) and who received inpatient rehabilitation without DBWS (SOC, n = 6). The primary outcome measure was the change in Functional Independence Measures (FIM) scores from admission to discharge.

RESULTS: There was significant improvement in total FIM scores at discharge compared to admission for both the DBWS (p = 0.001) and SOC (p = 0.005) groups. Overall, the DBWS group had greater improvement in total FIM score and FIM subscales compared to the SOC group.

CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest DBWS has the potential to allow a greater intensity of therapy during inpatient rehabilitation and yield better outcomes compared to SOC in patients with TBI.

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Published in NeuroRehabilitation, v. 45, no. 4.

© 2019 – IOS Press and the authors. All rights reserved.

This article is published online with Open Access and distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (CC BY-NC 4.0).

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